Even though he did not have his own podium to speak from, Alex Smith had plenty of time to answer questions in New Orleans. As expected Smith took on the media ambush with class, and was able to be very informative without rocking the boat.
For Smith, the change to Colin Kaepernick -- and the team winding up in the Super Bowl -- is one of the most difficult circumstances an athlete can endure. It was a situation that was completely out of Smith's hands. And Lombardi Trophy or not, he won't be able to cherish this moment the same as if he were still the starter.
At media day, Smith discussed his new role with the team and addressed the questions surrounding his future in the NFL.
On Kaepernick taking over as the starter:
We're in the Super Bowl, this is a great thing. It's been an amazing ride. We've still got one left here. I'm not thinking about that stuff right now. My role changed, however many weeks ago that was, and I've taken on this new role. That's my job. Now it's to stay ready to go and help this team any way I can. I'll have time to think about other stuff in a week.
On if he's thinking about his future:
Not at all, not at all. Like I said, after Sunday there will be a long time to think about that stuff.
On how he helps Kaepernick:
For me, if there's anything I see, whether it's in the game plan or in the game. As a backup quarterback you're constantly trying to play the game through the starter. So for me, in practice, you're not getting the reps, so you're back there watching. It's the same thing on game day. It could be anything, it could be nothing. With him, it's not a lot at times, he sees things really well he's a really smart kid, and obviously a tremendous player.
On how things could have been different were he the starter:
I'm not thinking about it, to be totally honest with you; I'm really focused on taking this all in. This is a great thing. For almost all the guys on the team this is their first trip to the Super Bowl. (I'm) primarily just getting ready to play.
On if he prepares as though he could still play and win the Super Bowl:
That's my job. Be ready to go. You never know, it's a crazy game, crazy things happen and my job is to be ready to go at a moment's notice. That's my role.
On preparing as a backup:
It's different, but it's a lot of mental preparation. A lot of time in the film room a lot of time with the playbook, and just being ready to go. Like I said, I play the game through Kaep a lot, you're just trying to take the reps and be ready to jump in at any time.
On getting through the disappointment of losing the starting job:
Things happen in sports. For me it's just being ready for the next opportunity, that's what I can control, being ready for when that opportunity comes. I don't know when it's going to come, but for me I'm just doing to continue to work to be ready. Once this is done and next week or a few weeks from now we can think about that stuff.
On if being young helps make losing his job easier to deal with:
I feel like I have a lot of football ahead of me. I don't feel like this is my last opportunity I feel like there's more out there for me.
On looking to the future:
There will be plenty of time for that when this is all done. Right now I'm just focused on the game.
On asking the advantages of being released versus being traded:
I have no idea. That didn't come from me; I don't know where any of that came from. I haven't even thought about it to be totally honest with you. I want to play football but there will be time to think about that stuff when this is done.
Believe it or not, these weren't all of the questions Smith received at media day related to the situation. These were just the highlights.
It seemed important to note how well the 49ers quarterback has dealt with the change and everything that's followed. He seemed optimistic while also being real about the situation, which no one can fault him for. His approach was to concern himself with the things he could control.
The midseason change was Jim Harbaugh's decision and no one else's. He can be content for now because Smith knows he'll get another opportunity next year. And given his maturity in the face of adversity, he's sure to have more than a couple interested teams.
"Alex [Smith] has been phenomenal. He has been doing nothing but good things to help this team. He's does nothing but good things to help me," Kaepernick said on Wednesday.
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